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Texas college invites GOP senator to give commencement address. Then liberals get wind of it.
Liberals launched an online petition after a Texas college invited Republican Sen. John Cornyn to speak at its commencement on Saturday. Then the college withdrew its invitation to Cornyn. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Texas college invites GOP senator to give commencement address. Then liberals get wind of it.

Texas Southern University invited Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to speak at its commencement on Saturday, along with two Democratic lawmakers, but the college disinvited Cornyn after liberals launched a change.org petition.

Campus Reform reported that TSU, a historically black college, canceled Cornyn's invitation after liberal protesters opposed Cornyn's scheduled appearance. The petition did not take issue with Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) being invited to speak at the event.

"We are voicing our stark opposition to the decision of having Senator John Cornyn speak at the TSU Commencement on May 13," the online petition read.

"The decision to host Mr. Cornyn, as a keynote speaker sends the message that the policies and views he has advocated and supported, including both discriminatory policies and politicians, are acceptable by the university and subsequently the student body," the petition continued.

The petition provided several reasons for the opposition to letting Cornyn speak. Among the reasons were Cornyn voting to confirm Jeff Sessions to be attorney general and Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education. The petition also cited Cornyn's support of legislation that would have required voters to show a photo ID in order to vote in federal elections.

"These are just a few examples of Cornyn's support of discriminatory policies and politicians," the petition read. "Having a politician such as him speak at our institution is an insult to the students, to TSU, and to all [historically black colleges and universities]."

In a statement announcing the cancellation of Cornyn's speech, a TSU representative said that "it was done to ensure that our students and families enjoyed their special day," the Texas Tribune reported.

"Commencement exercises are special moments for our students, their families and the entire university. Every consideration is made to ensure that our student's graduation day is a celebratory occasion and one they will remember positively for years to come," the statement read.

Cornyn's office responded to the college's decision not to have the senator speak.

"Senator Cornyn was honored to be invited to address TSU’s graduates, but he respects the Administration's decision and looks forward to continuing to engage with the University in the future," the statement read, according to the Tribune.

While Cornyn did not speak at the commencement Saturday, both Green and Jackson-Lee delivered remarks during the ceremony.

Liberals previously called on Bethune-Cookman University, an HBCU in Daytona Beach, Florida, to disinvite DeVos from giving the keynote address at its commencement last Wednesday. DeVos did speak at the event, but her words were met with boos from the audience.

Some students even turned their backs on the education secretary throughout the more than 23-minute speech. Despite the cool reception, however, DeVos said she was "grateful" for the opportunity to address the college.

“One of the hallmarks of higher education and of democracy is the ability to converse with and learn from those with whom we disagree," DeVos said.

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